Author Topic: My (mostly) vintage nibs  (Read 5738 times)

Offline AAAndrew

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My (mostly) vintage nibs
« on: August 04, 2015, 09:26:02 AM »
In my introduction I mentioned that part of what got me started down the road of pointed pen calligraphy was the realization that I had inherited some nibs long ago from a deceased Great Aunt. (Thanks, Aunt Maude!) She had taught school at a small, rural school in the late 20's and then was the town's librarian for 34 years. She passed away in 1984 and because at the time I was doing broad nib calligraphy with Speedball dip pens, I ended up with this odd nibs with points on them.

Fast forward to last month when I finally pulled them out of my calligraphy kit and took a good look at them. I started to research a bit, and that's not always easy since there were so many different manufacturers and most have left little to no records, at least records easily found by an amateur on the web.

So, during the July 4th weekend I downloaded Dr. Vitolo's e-book onto my iPad, printed out his guide sheets and started to learn.

All of that to say, I'm a rank beginning in pointed pen calligraphy, so take any experience with these nibs with a grain of salt. But here's my very modest collection of some quite good, and some "meh" nibs and my impressions. Take it for what it's worth.

1. Hunt Success Round Pointed No. 17  USA: I find this to be one of my best and most fun nibs to write with. I can't find any other mention of it, but if you see these in the wild, they're really worthwhile.

2. Spencerian No 1 Ivision & Phinney England
2a. Same: I don't need to introduce these nibs. I have one that's a bit more used and one that's more new. I've used the "used" one a few times, but I'm saving the newer one until when I'm better. But from my brief experience, I'd say the Hunt 17 is at least as flexible and responsive as the Spencerian No1.

3. Hunt Companion Round Pointed no. 21 USA: Almost as good as the three above. Not sure what the difference between the 17 and the 21 were supposed to me. They look identical to me. Just a hair less flexible, the shaded lines are just slightly narrower, but works wonderfully for smaller writing.

4. Electric School No 53: Another beautifully responsive and flexible nib. Again, can't find out anything about the company or this nib, but another great suggestion for finding in the wild.

5. Little Red School House Fine No. 279: Most of the Little Red School House nibs I have (and I have several including stubs) are quite good. Some are firmer than others, but I'm impressed by the quality of what I'm assuming were supposed to be primarily school pens.

6. Wm. Mitchell Pankikkyna (Bankpen) No. 0742F: Identical in shape to the modern Wm Mitchell Copperplate nib, but it is labeled in both Finnish and Swedish as a Bank Pen. Fun to use in a straight holder and quite flexible.

*7. Brause 66EF Iserlohn: One of several modern nibs I just picked up from John Neal. This is a fun little nib great for smaller writing, like a letter. Very flexible and reasonably responsive. You won't be making any wall hangings with this one, but if you want to dash off a letter on A5 paper, this would be a fun nib to use.

*8. Zebra G  Japan: Standard one that most people already know and use. Pretty much equivalent to the other G's. I haven't found a significant difference between these. Some are slightly more responsive than others, or better with one ink or another, but I've not tried them so much that I can tell you specifics.

*9. Tachikawa G No. 3  Japan

*10. Leonardt G  England

*11. Nikko G Japan

12. Little Red School House School No. 280 (this one is moderately flexible, the others of this number are not): A smaller nib and this one is surprisingly flexible considering the other few that I have of this same number are pretty firm. (semi-flex for a fountain pen, but what I would consider firm compared to the dip nibs I've used)

13. Spencerian Forty No. 40 Falcon  Made in England: This is a fun nib. It's big, holds a ton of ink and is a nice balance between flexible and easy to use. I've love to find a box of these. It seems a fairly robust nib as well. It's a great nib for trying different inks or challenging paper because it can pump out the ink.

14. Spencerian Commercial No. 3 Made in England: A very nice pen for copperplate and Spencerian. You can get good continuous lines and some really nice shading. Not quite as responsive at the rock stars at the top of my list, but quite respectable and a great practice pen.

15. R. Esterbrook Bank Pen No 14: Similar to the Spencerian Commercial, these are great practice pens. A larger nib so you'll have to play with your holder to get it adjusted just right. Won't fit well into speedball type holders that have a set depth. These are my go-to practice nibs when I'm working on an every-day roundhand kind of style. These would have been workhorses for everyday office writing.

15a. Same

15b. Same

I have a few firm nibs: Not much to say about them except that they're firm, smooth writers.

16. Little Red School House School No. 280 (picture above)
16a. Same (picture above)
17. Woolworth Smooth Writing No. 22 England
18. Woolco Medium C USA
18a. Same
19. R. Esterbrook Radio Pen No 987  USA
20. Falcon (thatís all it says on the nib)
21. Turner & Harrison No. 22  Phila. PA USA

And then there are the stubs which can be quite fun, especially when they're flexible. Still trying to figure out what style of writing would have used these stub nibs and when they were popular. Would these have been used when other office hands like Palmer started to come into style? I don't see them as right for either Spencerian or Copperplate. Maybe someone can illuminate.

22. Little Red School House Stub No 282: A wonderfully smooth and flexible stub

22a. Same

23. Hoosier Record No. 5: My most flexible stub. Can get quite some shading out of it. Not nearly what you get from a really flexible nib, but quite nice.

24. Spencerian Congressional No. 28  England : Good semi-flexible stub, very sensible and smooth. You can also sort of see that the Congressional has a slight Left oblique angle to the cut of the nib.

24a. Same

25: Esterbrook italic nib. Not really one of this set, but was in the whole collection

Hope that was at least slightly interesting. I wish I could give greater insight to the nibs, but at least there are a few more that I can easily recommend, at least based on comparison to the Spencerian No. 1's that I have, in case you run across them and wonder if they're any good.

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Offline Elizabeth O.

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 09:55:28 AM »
Thank you for that!  Your list was fun to read, very organized, and the pictures are great!

The vent hole on the Esterbrook bank pen is so pretty.  It's like a tulip!  I feel like the vent holes in more modern nibs are less fun, haha!
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Offline handmadeletters

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 10:09:30 AM »
Hey Andrew,

Welcome to the Forum! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures. What a generous gift from your Aunt. Perhaps as you make your way with pointed pen, you can demonstrate some lettering with these nibs.

I'd be really interested in seeing the Hunt 21 do its thing. The vintage Hunt 22 is one of my favorites, and I'm curious if the 21 is similar. Perhaps that they are sequentially near each other may not mean anything in terms of writing. (Off topic: I don't understand the numbering of all these nibs. Does anyone know about it? Is there a rationale to it or just an inventory numbering system?) #17 and #21 look really cool. Would love to see you demonstrate those.

Good luck with your practice!
Janice :)

Offline prasad

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 11:21:40 AM »
HI Andrew,
Thanks for this post.  That's a lot of hard work considering I asked to see the nibs just a few hours ago. :)  Beautiful collection and great write up.

Thanks again
Happy writing
Never be afraid to try something new
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 12:38:22 PM »
I already had the pictures and numbers, I just added the comments. I don't always get requests turned around so quickly!  ;D

I did just write out a couple of examples of a few of the nibs on the list that I have here at work.
# 15 - Esterbrook Bank Pen No 14
# 2a - Spencerian No. 1
# 5 - Little Red School House Fine No. 279
# 3 - Hunt No. 21.

Please excuse the poor writing. I've only been practicing pointed pen calligraphy for a month. But it should at least give you an impression of the thick to thin variation possible. I may not press my nibs as much as they can be pressed, but these are pretty easy to get wide.
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Offline schin

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 12:46:42 PM »
Beautiful nibs! Glad it went to a person who appreciates them!
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Offline Linda Y.

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 01:53:39 PM »
what a great and comprehensive post! thank you for sharing. And what a wonderful legacy your great aunt has left behind.

Offline elsa.d

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 04:23:33 PM »
Excellent information! Thank you for sharing.

Offline Pam McT

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2015, 07:08:33 AM »
What a great post! Very informative. Thank you

Regards Pam

Offline SueL

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Re: My (mostly) vintage nibs
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2015, 10:58:21 AM »
Thanks for sharing!